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Sail Date: January 2015
My husband and I took this cruise January 30 - February 6, 2015 embarking in Montego Bay. Check in from Jamaica was short, simple and easy as was check out at the end of the cruise. We did not have to pay exit fees from Jamaica or Cuba ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise January 30 - February 6, 2015 embarking in Montego Bay. Check in from Jamaica was short, simple and easy as was check out at the end of the cruise. We did not have to pay exit fees from Jamaica or Cuba (although we were prepared to) nor were we ever asked for proof of medical insurance. At all of our stops in Cuba, there were Cuban medical staff checking our temperatures to ensure we were not running a fever. Some stops had more bureaucracy than others in terms of wanting us to have our passports with us. We've done a lot of traveling and are used to quixotic rules. Danny was always clear in his announcements as to what we might or might need when leaving the ship so this was not a big issue. We took crisp Canadian cash with us for exchanging into CUC and encountered no problems at the currency desks in ports. I heard that US cash could be exchanged but at a 10% surcharge. The currency desks did have exchange rates posted for a wide variety of currencies so I assume other cash was acceptable as well. A couple in front of us wanted to use a credit card to get CUCs and were told no. Descriptions of the ship posted previously are generally accurate so I won't elaborate except to say that we had no problems with the room i.e. hot water when we wanted it, good pressure in the shower, cleaned well and regularly, etc. Yes, we were asked to put our dirty toilet paper in a trash can rather than in the toilet but on previous visits to China and the Greek Islands, we were asked to do the same. The water on the ship is safe to drink and we used it to refill our own water bottles. No gastrointestinal problems at all. We didn't notice any unpleasant taste to it and if you asked the staff in the dining areas, they would fill your bottle for you. We found the food quite good and in some cases excellent. My husband and I have taken Regent and Uniworld cruises in the past so my comparisons are to that level of dining. In talking with the Maitre d' we learned that the chef had been replaced two weeks previously (mid-January?). He also told us that both Jamaica and Cuba do not allow the ship to load food through them. Food is flown to Trinidad where is shipped to the Louis Cristal when it is in international water. I was pleasantly surprised by the jambalaya which was spicy, a veggie burger which was moist and flavorful, my steak which was tender and blue when I wanted it to be, etc. It is true that the offerings at breakfast are somewhat repetitive but we found there was enough selection that we did not have a problem finding something interesting every day. Perhaps previous comments about poor food quality resulted in a change of chef and an overall improvement. We found all the staff polite and helpful. My husband uses a cane and staff would almost always help him with his tray and especially when the ship was a little rocky. I've tried to focus on new information that may be helpful to others. We took some tours but explored other places on our own. Fellow passengers were congenial and spoke a variety of languages although there was some degree of English spoken by most. Thanks to the French Canadians on board for their patience with my French.   Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Coming from Australia, we are used to being savvy about cruising – our country is a dumping ground for older ships with poor facilities (looking at you, Princess and P&O) or decent ships that have their prices massively pumped up the ... Read More
Coming from Australia, we are used to being savvy about cruising – our country is a dumping ground for older ships with poor facilities (looking at you, Princess and P&O) or decent ships that have their prices massively pumped up the moment they hit our shores for the season (looking at you, Royal Caribbean/Celebrity). Our family of four (parents, 19yo son and 17yo daughter) are experienced cruisers, so we are used to being cautious when booking our cruise holidays whether domestically or overseas. On this occasion, we were attending a family gathering in Europe and decided to extend our holiday by taking a cruise. Having done the Western Med several times, we were keen to concentrate on a different region. In October 2017, I cruised on Azamara Journey ex Athens return with my mother and had thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary, so I was keen to show my husband and children what Greece had to offer. Unfortunately, the choice for family cruising in the region is very limited, as many of the large, reputable cruise ships use Italy and Spain, rather than Greece, as their embarkation/disembarkation points, with limited Greek ports as part of their itineraries. Despite some research, we could find very little information from an Australian perspective on the quality of Celestyal cruising - even the travel agents we consulted had limited information and asked us to provide them with feedback if we went ahead with our cruise. (As we were to find out, most of the people cruising this line do not come from Australia, the UK or even the mainland of the USA; rather, they seemed to be from the Latin American countries and some European nations.) In the end, we decided to chance it, but played it safe by booking the best available cabins which, at the time, were a suite (Cat S) and an obstructed oceanview, both cabins being on deck 6. The total cost for the Idyllic Aegean itinerary (7 days), which included gratuities, selected drinks packages and three shore excursions, was in excess of AUD12,000. (We had hoped to upgrade both cabins onboard if this became an option, but it never eventuated as the cruise sailed at full capacity.) This price was in the ballpark of what I had paid per person for my 8 day cruise on Azamara in an oceanview cabin, so I was hopeful this cruise would be a decent one, though I wasn't naive enough to expect it would be up to Azamara's standards. My thinking was that it might equate to some of Royal Caribbean's older, smaller vessels, such as Rhapsody. THE GOOD: The ship is part of a Greek line and focuses on the islands, which is what we were looking for. We overnighted in Mykonos and stayed two full days in Santorini, which is not an option on larger liners. You can't take away from Celestyal that it offers unrivalled access to the Greek ports. Worth noting is that, at the last minute, the captain allowed all guests to disembark for an hour or so in Samos, while he picked up passengers who had attended an alternative shore excursion - this was unscheduled but appreciated and not something you could expect on larger liners. Our suite was very spacious, but had no opening windows or balcony. In fact, it was more like a very large oceanview, with just one large porthole. The shower stall was generously sized with a sliding glass door and the shower itself had the best pressure we'd ever experienced at sea. Fruit platters were provided each morning and canapes each evening (though the latter was often dry and tired) and there were complimentary toiletries for suite guests. These appeared to be the only privileges for this room category, with no advantages offered at embarkation/disembarkation, dining or for tender tickets. The cabin staff (Shafik and Teresa/Silvia) were excellent, which is usual on any cruise ship we've been on. They were attentive and keen to help with any requests. We ensured they received additional tips, accordingly. THE BAD: Our children's oceanview cabin was tiny - it was uncomfortably small for two adults and was sparsely appointed. The mattresses in both cabin grades were unusually firm and the pillows unusually soft, so we all ended up with sore shoulders when attempting to sleep on our sides. This was the first ship I have ever been on that didn't allow toilet paper in the toilets. As is the tradition in Greece on the mainland, all loo paper had to be disposed of in the bathroom bins. I found this off-putting. We have travelled diversely, from trekking in third world destinations to staying in five star resorts, however, this was the first time I felt the toileting facilities were substandard for the price we were paying. At home, we live on self-sustainable acreage with a biocycle septic system on the driest inhabited continent on earth, yet we have never had issues putting loo paper down the toilet in any system in our country, let alone on a cruise ship. I really think they could make more effort here. At the time of booking, our children were initially assigned an oceanview cabin on deck 2, however, I'd read the CruiseCritic review cautioning about the diesel fumes on this deck and I insisted on a deck change before final payment. Thank goodness I did. As it was, we still experienced occasional diesel fumes in the cabins on deck 6, as well as in the restaurants. Not terribly pervasive, but I can only imagine how bad it could be down on deck 2. THE UGLY: There is no polite way to say this - the food was appalling. We were looking forward to something more tempting than the usual American-influenced fare offered on the larger ships (which we sometimes find overly sweet and heavy). Celestyal claims to offer authentic Greek cuisine. Sorry, but last time I was in Greece, bland boarding school food was not part of the local experience. There were too many times that even the a la carte dinner in the restaurant was inedible (such as an Osso Bucco that was nothing but a bone chunk and fat swimming in packet-tasting gravy with no accompanying muscle meat to be found). Sadly, even breakfast offered little relief. If you strayed from the omelette and waffle station on the pool deck, there was only bland scrambled eggs and stale pastries on offer. The cereals, fruits and yoghurts were all poor quality; given the wealth of produce available in the region, it was unnecessary and very frustrating. The waitstaff in the restaurants were, almost without exception, terrible. They would forget entire courses, often provided the wrong meals to the wrong people and could not be bothered to apologise or seem at all concerned when their mix-ups became evident. Waitstaff on cruise ships are usually hard working and attentive - these guys were clearly not trained in the same manner as any others we've encountered over the years. It was like the Fawlty Towers of cruise ship restaurants. We had the 'all-inclusive' drinks package as part of our cruise and, at the time of booking, I asked our travel agent to find out how much it would cost to upgrade to premium drinks so that we could take care of this upfront. My experience is that included drinks packages with 'selected' drinks are never particularly good. After having some difficulty getting responses from the Australian wholesaler, our travel agent was told it would only be about an additional $5 per day to upgrade and we could do this onboard. The unpalatable truth is that it was an additional EUR14 per day to get the upgrade once on the ship. The included drinks were so poorly prepared that we decided not to risk throwing good money after bad. We found that as long as we stayed away from any drinks that involved mixers (viz. all the cocktails), then we could find something drinkable. Surprisingly (and fortunately), the house wines were not terrible. My husband, who is a whiskey drinker, simply purchased a bottle of Jameson from onshore and kept that in our suite for his drinks, rather than being forced to pay the premium upgrade for a watery version. We had a mixed experience with the included shore excursions. We didn't take the one offered in Oia, but did use the one offered in Heraklion. It was well run and very enjoyable. The shore excursion in Kusadasi was a travesty. When sailing on the Azamara, I did this port with a private guide and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the guide provided as part of Celestyal's excursion couldn't speak comprehensible English and ruined the whole experience. It was so frustrating to know how it could have been presented and to see the faces of so many people glazing over from the way it was presented. Then, to top it off, we were dragged to the unwanted rug sales pitch where a couple fell for the hard-sell and purchased a rug, holding up our entire tour group so that we got back to the ship within 5 minutes of departure. My husband had wanted to explore the options to purchase a leather jacket, but in the end there wasn't even time to shop independently for souvenirs. The whole shore excursion was unacceptable and I would strongly encourage people to use a private guide for this port. The final insult to this cruise was the disembarkation. We arrived in port at the same time as another of Celestyal's ships, holding up disembarkation so that many passengers were in a panic as to whether they would make their flights. Unlike any other cruise I have been on, there was no prior request for information about people's plans for the next stage of their journey and there was no priority offered to disembarkation of suite guests. Frankly, watching people argue with the crew and push and shove to disembark the vessel was a fitting end to this cruise. Not at all recommended. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Chose this cruise due to price and location. Had a Jr. Balcony Suite. This room had a very poor.. There was a refrigerator in the middle of the closet, thus no room to hang clothes unless they were to lean against the frig. The safe was on ... Read More
Chose this cruise due to price and location. Had a Jr. Balcony Suite. This room had a very poor.. There was a refrigerator in the middle of the closet, thus no room to hang clothes unless they were to lean against the frig. The safe was on the floor had to get down on a knee to use. Then if following the instructions that were with the safe was not the way I was showed how to use the safe. Maybe saw the cabin steward twice the whole week and it was at least day 3 before even knew if room steward was male or female! Had sign in room if left towel hanging then would not change, but changed every time. The trash cans were the ones with step on lids, what a pain. The toilet paper holder was a reach for even me a tall person, the the end of the roll is looped inside the roller!. The front desk could never really answer any questions! The food variety was a little to be desired! The fact that you had to pay to get a hamburger was astonishing and no ice cream outside restaurant without paying. The activities were a joke, no prizes, except you got to keep your answer sheet! We only saw the cruise director when she introduced the shows! They would leave a polish on the hand rails so after you came down the stairs your hands would be black! The way they did the white drink package was totally a mystery as to why it worked the way it did. For every time you ordered a drink they had to scan the card even if you were still in the same location. The excursions were good you just never knew how long they were going to last, The disembarkation was a real joke as you did not know what time you were to depart and when they made an announcement you could not hear ir even setting in a lounge! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
I chose this cruise, because I wanted to have fun with my wife. I hoped I would find a clear and fresh cabin but I didn't. So I don't suggest it to anonybody. Besides doctor does not appear, if you call him. A nurse is sent in ... Read More
I chose this cruise, because I wanted to have fun with my wife. I hoped I would find a clear and fresh cabin but I didn't. So I don't suggest it to anonybody. Besides doctor does not appear, if you call him. A nurse is sent in order not to pay 45€ per visit! The pharmacy is not properly updated and you may be in danger during the cruise, if something health matter occures. I called the hospital of the ship and an ironical nurse came into my cabin. She gave me a medicine for diarroia, caused by bad food in the ship, that caused stomachache and breathing problem during the night. Also many members of the crew didn't speak greek, although the majority of the passengers of the ship were greek people. I obviously do not suggest that cruise to anybody. I left the cruise in Kos in the third day and I did not regret it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
Yes.. I explored my departure city prior to traveling. Embarkation and Debarkation went smoothly. Ship.. small.. bad food.. my cabin was decent size. Ship was grossly understaffed. 1 crew member for every 500 passengers (I'm ... Read More
Yes.. I explored my departure city prior to traveling. Embarkation and Debarkation went smoothly. Ship.. small.. bad food.. my cabin was decent size. Ship was grossly understaffed. 1 crew member for every 500 passengers (I'm exaggerating but it felt like that) One plus was cruise director looked like John Oliver! one (or most negative) was bed bugs.. all over the ship.. had the "Sanitation Director" come to my cabin and see the bumps on my arms and legs and he said "Sorry it happens" I would not recommend this cruise line to my worst enemy.. choose some other one.. Carnival.. Royal Caribbean.. Disney.. Any other one besides this one.. And if you happen to choose this one.. I will pray for your safe return. This ship was supposedly rebuilt twice and just ran into an oil tanker recently.. "Whoops" Also.. just happens... Good luck and "safe" travels and hoping for no oil tankers in your way! Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This tiny ship could be a small jewel---it is not. A sunken ferry, ra1sed and refurbished, the very small state rooms remain with the single beds joined into one. With no guard rails nor T-bar [to fit between the two mattress] the ... Read More
This tiny ship could be a small jewel---it is not. A sunken ferry, ra1sed and refurbished, the very small state rooms remain with the single beds joined into one. With no guard rails nor T-bar [to fit between the two mattress] the mattress separate, especially in turbulence, leaving a 4-5inch gap, making spooning with your spouse impossible. The cruise is made semi-successful by a wonderful crew [the arrogant Captain who crashed us into the Havana dock excepted]. The international staff was attentive and can not be praised enough. The food quality was appalling. Out of approx 100 servings between my wife and myself, only 3 were palatable [the lamb shank, the pasta carbonara, and the roasted Canadian bacon]. Most meat was mystery meat of uncertain origin. Even the hamburgers were at least 40% soymeal in the best scenario, 40% sawdust in the worst. At every corner you were nickeled and dimed --even pizza cost extra. Drink packages were required, even if you don't drink; the wine was of the lowest Greek quality. As a final blow, at least 50% of the passengers were ill at disembarkation. It was apparently not Noro virus but caused many trips to the infirmary. For $203 dollars, you received a CBC, flu test, exam and placebo meds. What a deal!! The PTP excursions were led by enthusiastic and well-educated guides. Most started early [8:30 AM] but then actually began after an hour of waiting, often on hard concrete. The Cuban people we met were personable but could not hide the misery and poverty in which they live. The largest portion of Havana is slums with poor water and sewage systems; the other cities are similar. So we do not expect to return to Cuba. If we do, it certainly will not be on this cruise line. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
In the past, when I saw one star reviews for vacations I asked myself how people can do that for 5 star hotels. Well, here I am writing my one star (or should be 0) for this Cruise. First of all, I have to say that I loved Cuba. I went ... Read More
In the past, when I saw one star reviews for vacations I asked myself how people can do that for 5 star hotels. Well, here I am writing my one star (or should be 0) for this Cruise. First of all, I have to say that I loved Cuba. I went to cuba with very low expectations, I was in a resort in Varadero the week before the cruise and the experience was excellent, including the resort, the people, the service, the room and even the food. My main purpose for the cruise was to visit Cuba after a week in the beach...but I didn't see much of cuba. Excursions were completely disorganized. The Cruise Director is a clown, and a bad one. And when you put a Clown together with a Salsa dancer that only knows how to count to four to organize 120 people in 4 buses, that's what you get. A hour and a half delay. In addition the boat was always delayed. They always blame the weather (even the day that the cruise didn't sail). The only day that we were on time the joker woke us at 7:20am to call everybody take the temperature even if the disembarking was at 9, and they didn't even took our names or cabin numbers. The end of the story is that you lose most of your time in port because they are extremely disorganized, plus Cuba customs. They take you on a 3 hours tour where they want them to take you and you don't have extra time to do anything on your own. One example of what to expect was at Maria la Gorda. Like many other people, I was prepared with hiking gear to go to a natural reserve. Instead, we were 3 hours on a bus that took us to a place that was...nothing. Only and old lighthouse on the other side of the fence. I asked about changing that excursion for diving, it was u$s 165 for only one tank on a choppy day, when regular price for 2 tanks is $49 in Cuba and they will refund you if there's bad weather. About the cruise. This is a refurbished ferry that was burned and crashed an oil tanker (Do your own research on this one). It might be ok as a ferry, but It cannot handle very well the conditions in Cuba, it was a little bit windy but it was sunny all the time, standard weather for Cuba at this time of the year. I can't imagine it with a real storm, even a minor one. So expect it to move, and a lot. First I got an inside cabin, if you can call it a cabin. It was not even half the size of a small cruise cabin. I upgraded (after having to pay, and they are very good at getting your money) to an outside cabin. The carpets were stained and didn't look modern. the washroom had problems most of the time. Also the air conditioning was unpredictable. Food was college cafeteria grade. At the buffet, there were always the same, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food seemed to come from Greece more than a month before, nothing was fresh at all. Fruits were mainly canned. They advertise that they serve Alberta beef, but I only seen overcooked pork and chicken. Also they changed the dinner plan to open seating. First day I was refused to enter one of the restaurants. They said it was booked by a group for the next 5 days, but other people got in. I got in the next day. Both restaurants serve exactly the same. Sometimes you have to wait 45 minutes, or go to the buffet. Entertainment was always the same, not much entertaining. On the positive side. After the shows, the band stayed playing and they were really good. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We are seasoned cruiser's and world travelers. We fully understand that places outside the USA can be quite different since we have traveled to China (lived there for a total of 12 weeks) , Russia and many other countries. This cruise ... Read More
We are seasoned cruiser's and world travelers. We fully understand that places outside the USA can be quite different since we have traveled to China (lived there for a total of 12 weeks) , Russia and many other countries. This cruise ship, and I have to assume company, are by far the worst we have encountered. Avoid this company unless you are prepared for very poor service, food and tours. Here are a few of the events that caused four of us to come to that conclusion. 1. Food: The standard fare is buffet unless you can time your life to their inane sit down schedules. The food served in sit down is the same as the buffet.. Coffee is instant unless you pay for the upgraded beverage package. Getting a glass of water is via ONe small , very slow spigot at the bar. Que lines abound at the buffet with little thought given to flow. (folks wanting desert have to step through the line waiting for the main foods). Forgot your silverware? back to the line for you! Tables to sit to eat can be scarce. Institutional food is a description that gives more credit than is due. 2. This is a converted passenger ship and it shows. They like to tout that is is not like other cruise ships in that it is not "cookie cutter" but in reality the room selection is built to confuse and has no rhyme or reason as to the price and value. Our initial room was with limited view two beds and two chairs. On the second day out the ship was refuled. Somehow fuel oil got into our cabin. We asked to be moved since the odor was strong and affected our breathing. We were told nothing was available. They sprinkled some chemical around the room. No help. They cleaned the carpet. No help. On the fourth day we were given an option to take another room. We moved to clean air but a smaller cabin with two beds and no chairs. We had to crawl over each other to get in bed. All along I asked for a consideration to our expenses. I was told we were given an upgraded room. At the end of the cruise I asked to speak to a manager regarding our room experience. The person on duty refused to come out to speak to me. The messenger just kept saying we were treated fairly and should be happy we got an upgrade. So the bottom line here is if you have a problem during the cruise , you are not likely to get any sympathy or assistance. 3. Tours on our ship followed the food and cabin experience. Our first land cruise involved about 25 people. We were given head sets so we could hear the tour guide. At the first opportunity our guide asked us to turn on the head sets. My wife's did not work. She tried to stand close to the guide but there were many other guides in each area of interest and the guide kept moving around the group. Upon our return to the ship I advised the person taking the audio devices that my wife's did not work. He said that tomorrow they would give me better devices and threw the device in the pile of devices. I asked how they would know which one did not work. He said that was someone elses problem. I went to the land cruise desk and complained. They said they were sorry but nothing could be done. The next day we were one of the last groups off the ship. When I asked the tour guide where we could get audio devices , she said they were out of them. As an aside , I noticed other cruise lines had much more modern devices for their customers. Our third land tour had the same results for the audio plus they combined English and non English people on the same tour. Very difficult to understand what was being articulated. The good news! We hit every gift shop at each stop! Very normal activity for cruisers. 4. Entertainment and the hard working souls on the ship helped mitigate the otherwise very poor experience. Bottom line is to avoid this Cruise line. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was a cruise booked for a group of 42 of us. The ship was smaller than most cruise ships and therefore, much more movement than expected (6 floors). Our cabin was located above the motor, 5th from the back, and all items were ... Read More
This was a cruise booked for a group of 42 of us. The ship was smaller than most cruise ships and therefore, much more movement than expected (6 floors). Our cabin was located above the motor, 5th from the back, and all items were vibrating on the table as we sailed. I had to sleep with my head at the foot of the bed. The food was so sub par, there were times when the food would actually run out and the "cattle drive" was complete with pushing and shoving. One "nice" meal in which my husband opted for the extra $13 euro for Surf and Turf, resulted in an inedible lobster that was colored brown and unknown time residing in the freezer. The service was sub-par as it appeared that all staff was new, as they did not know much about what they were serving or what options were available. The staff appeared to be unhappy and although some of them made an effort, it appeared that they had been treated so poorly, they were afraid to ask a manager any question, proposed by a customer. We were told that it was a converted German Battle ship and therefore, if required could move faster in the water to reach a destination before other cruise ships. Based on this statement, I should have expected a "military boot camp" experience. The prior month, I had travelled on a Missionary Trip to the jungles in Peru, these accommodations were similar without the joy that accompanies serving. Of our pretty large group, this was a first cruise for many and for those, it was their last cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This cruise left a great deal to be desired- from staff that were unable to speak English to the pTassengers and the mis information they gave to passengers- probably because of language problems and poor training, the only staff that ... Read More
This cruise left a great deal to be desired- from staff that were unable to speak English to the pTassengers and the mis information they gave to passengers- probably because of language problems and poor training, the only staff that seemed to be happy and had a happy helpful attitude towards passengers were the restaurant waiters. However, the food served was very disappointing and also left a great deal to be desired. The only decent dinner was an 'extra-special' advertised at table on stand up card- which you had to pay extra for. The rooms were kept in good order by the hard working lady room attendants, but the shower was a total laugh- once you stepped in you could not move or bend and the plastic shower curtain stuck to your body for the entire shower. The Toilet- well unbelievably disgusting- supposedly the pipes were too small to take any toilet paper -so that had to be put in a tiny pedal rubbish bins on floor in front of Toilet for the poor room attendant to empty during the day! Entertainment- as there were only 250 - 400 passengers on this cruise and there was virtually nothing for them to do while at sea the only reprieve from boredom was the occasional evening show which consisted of a group of wonderful artists who danced and sang their hearts out to entertain the passengers. Oh yes there was Towel-folding and paper flowers instruction. The Pool was empty for nearly the whole cruise. Afternoon tea comprised of watery coffee, tea and scones that you could use for Cricket balls. I had just returned from a Carnival Cruise of the Caribbean which was more affordable than this cruise and absolutely wonderful in every way, which probably intensified the poor quality offered on this Greek Islands Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
My husband and I have been on over 20 cruises, and this was the worst. Before booking this cruise around Cuba on the Louis Cristal, we went to a presentation by Cuba Cruise that was advertised in our local Toronto, Ontario newspaper. We ... Read More
My husband and I have been on over 20 cruises, and this was the worst. Before booking this cruise around Cuba on the Louis Cristal, we went to a presentation by Cuba Cruise that was advertised in our local Toronto, Ontario newspaper. We were shown a very slick movie highlighting the Louis Cristal, and many of the wonderful things that we could enjoy while on this luxurious cruise ship including two restaurants where we could enjoy formal dining. A warning, Don't believe everything you hear or see! We were told that the menu was developed by a French chef and he would be on board to oversee the kitchen. There was no evidence of any French influence in the food. We were told that we would be served a variety of wonderful dishes at every meal. Not so. Breakfast was the same buffet every day although we ran out of bananas after the second day. Only one restaurant was open for us and it was an Alberta steak house which cost $34.95 per person extra and had no ambiance and was adjacent to the buffet. La Scala, the other restaurant mentioned was closed the whole trip. We were told that the ship used Canadian Currency and that the two official languages of the ship were English and French. There were in reality three official lanaguages on the ship. English, German, and French and every announcement was made in all three languages which became tedious after a while. The entertainment was the same every night except that the entertainers wore different costumes which became boring after the third day. The food at times was almost inedible. Breakfast and lunch were always a buffet and the food was cold and of poor quality. The dinners were in the dining room and not much better than the buffets. Often food was returned to the kitchen as it was cold or inedible due to the quality of the meat or fish. When the buffet was closed, there was no choice but to go to the bar to purchase a hot or cold drink. Plus, no toilet paper was allowed to be put in the toilets, so the garbage cans in the bathrooms stank. The ship was old but clean. The ports were interesting. Oh, did I mention that in Cuba before we were allowed to disembark in the ports everyone on the ship had to have their temperature taken? The passengers and staff included which meant excursions were often late leaving port. The Louis Cristal offers you a means of transportation around the Island of Cuba. However, as a cruise it will disappoint. The Cuban people are very friendly and the island is certainly worth a visit. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
After many hours traveling to Havana and then hours in immigration , we had expected better. Transfer was in an ageing Transit Van! The ship, at last, the cabin, the deluxe cabin the size of a postage stamp. Next dinner, don't even go ... Read More
After many hours traveling to Havana and then hours in immigration , we had expected better. Transfer was in an ageing Transit Van! The ship, at last, the cabin, the deluxe cabin the size of a postage stamp. Next dinner, don't even go there - horrific. Good job I like bread as I was going to have to get used to it. Captain, was arrogant! Rude and obnoxious, needs to be keel hawled for poor service. Oh and watch out for the the chimney smuts that cover you from the back of the ship. DON'T do it. Cost a fortune and very poor. Pity the crew. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
AVOID! We have done almost 20 cruises and this one is by far the worst one ever! If you are expecting the same quality service you receive with other cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America, Viking, ... Read More
AVOID! We have done almost 20 cruises and this one is by far the worst one ever! If you are expecting the same quality service you receive with other cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America, Viking, Cunard, etc., avoid Cuba cruises! Staff friendliness is in short supply! Not only is the large majority of the staff rude, you do not get good value for your money! We stayed in a suite (only 8 on the boat and we had 3 of them), which was nice and housekeeping was great; however, get ready to pay for everything extra, I mean everything, even your safe… It is an older ship and the tacky decals and lighting doesn’t do a good job of hiding its age. If you are looking forward to the food, prepare to be disappointed. It is terrible! On top of that they cram you into the dinning room like sardines. With a few exceptions of course, the dinning room staff is rude!!!! Drinks… if you want an “All-inclusive package” while your spouse does not, watch your bill as they WILL double charge you for both passengers in the cabin without telling you (it is their “policy”). It was a nightmare to cancel and the pool bar manager was extremely ill-mannered and unprofessional! The lack of organization on board is amazing! No one knows anything! Typical response: “I don’t know, that’s not my department.” No communication between anyone. It is beyond frustration! The staff just do NOT care! If you don’t want to pay the expensive laundry fee, pack extra as there is no self-laundry as many other cruise ships offer. Bring your own beach towel because you can’t take the ones out of the room. We did anyways but if you loose it get ready to pay $50 for an old 25 cent towel. The excursions are ok.. Nothing to brag about. The excursion staff are just as uninformed and careless as everyone else on board. I would NOT recommend Cuba cruises! Save your money and time and just don’t do it! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Bugs in the ceral on the first day. Moldy water coming up through broken grout in the bathroom. Toliets burping sewer gas that made you gag. Watery soda in the drink package and they ran out of Coke on the 3rd day Breakfast-aside from ... Read More
Bugs in the ceral on the first day. Moldy water coming up through broken grout in the bathroom. Toliets burping sewer gas that made you gag. Watery soda in the drink package and they ran out of Coke on the 3rd day Breakfast-aside from cereal bugs had undercooked bacon, runny eggs, waffles with Sunday toppings. Dinner was lousy with tough steak, soup that was horrible. Complaints got us the following reply-The ship will be in dry dock next month. They gave us extra towels to put on the floor for the moldy water. Mid-week we got another cabin where the A/C didn't work. It was 90 degrees and the answer was the engineer was too busy with his logs to fix it. Only my tour guide was able to fix these problems. Thank God it was only 6 days of a 14 day vacation   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
Ship Name: Louis Cristal  Date of Boarding: 16th May 2014  Duration: 7 night cruise. Staterooms: 6017-6018-6019-6025-6026 restricted view. I’m writing this review from the point of having cruised several times before with the likes ... Read More
Ship Name: Louis Cristal  Date of Boarding: 16th May 2014  Duration: 7 night cruise. Staterooms: 6017-6018-6019-6025-6026 restricted view. I’m writing this review from the point of having cruised several times before with the likes of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity just to name a few. I’m normally not at all so critical but I feel this cruise deserves to be rated very critically so that prospective cruise goers know what they are in for. Hope this is of some help to you readers. We boarded the ship in Athens on the 16th of May. The port was Lavrion which is 60 km or about an hour away from Athens city center. FYI most cruise lines come to Piraeus port which is in Athens and about 10 min from the city center. The boarding process was quick because we were the first ones there. Nothing Special. Whilst we were waiting to board the ship we inquired about drink packages and we were quite taken aback when we were told that it’s mandatory for all passengers in the cabin to buy individual beverage packages even if only one wishes to purchase the pack for themselves. Just didn’t make sense. At this point the cruise director Mr. Danny butted in and insisted that this is the way every cruise company sells its beverage packages, which is not true as we had just stepped off a Norwegian cruise on Royal Caribbean and they had no such rules. Yet he argued and until we produced our previous cruise cards he didn't stop. Once he saw the cards with the beverage package mentioned on one and not the other in the same stateroom, he promptly said his friend was a waiter on one of the Royal Caribbean ships and he had told him this. Then, in the cruise directors words "most customers make a fool out of us" so hence the policy. Not the best welcome and things were not getting any better on board. We had been sold the cabins on the 6th level with restricted view for approx. usd1800 per person. The Indian general sales agent for Louis cruises informed us that the regular “unrestricted view” rooms were sold out and that only “restricted view” was available. He also mentioned that both types of rooms were the same size and same price and availability was on a first come first basis and in some of the rooms the view is “slightly obstructed”. Firstly three of the five rooms had little to no view at best and 2 of the rooms had no view at all (I have pictures to show). Its pointless selling a room with a window and claiming it has a “slightly restricted view” when in reality it’s a window covered with a life raft and not a spot of light can even come through. Shocking! Secondly, restricted view rooms are about 3 feet shorter in depth and that leaves no place for bags or anything else. Ridiculously small rooms. What was most shocking was that when we approached the customer service regarding the change of room there was a board put up that “the ship is at full capacity and no change of rooms will not be allowed”. When we told them about our situation they offered NO help saying they were full but they quickly offered us an upgrade to an unrestricted view room for Euro300 per room. At this point things just did not seem to make sense as the agent had told us that the price was the same for both types of rooms and the ship was saying they were full up but yet they had capacity to upgrade us. Yet when we asked them to change our room to the interior cabin (no window) which were of course cheaper they again were “full and running at max capacity”. Just did not feel right. The dining services were nothing special either. The variety of food was pathetic. 5 to 6 dishes at the max and the lines to serve one’s self at the buffet were extremely long approx. 15 to 20 min. wait. What was upsetting was that there was another whole section which was closed for all the meals. The only serving grace was that the food was not bad and somewhat wholesome. The Staff were a whole other issue. Most of them were just there to do what they had been assigned and collect their pay cheques. None of them bothered to ever greet or be courteous to guests. They couldn’t be bothered to push and shove and cause any discomfort or inconvenience. They are busy talking amongst themselves loudly in the dining areas as well as at the bars standing around not bothered to even ask if you would like something. And as and when they did bring you something they did it like they were doing you a massive favor. On previous cruises I have made it a point to point out uncourteous staff but if I had to do that here I would have a list longer than this review. Not one of the staff made one feel good or happy to be on the ship. The Cruise Director was nothing like I have seen before, he was full off himself and was just there to do his job and didn’t care about the guests one bit, just like the rest of the staff. They really didn’t think about passenger comfort, every day passengers would embark and disembark and everyday there had to be safety drill for which every stateroom had to hear the entire safety drill announcement. Very inconvenient. And to top it off the cruise director would repeat the safety announcement in 10 different languages. Extremely annoying considering that, every day when you are back from an exhausting port visit and you just want to relax in your stateroom the announcements start and there is no way of putting them off and to top it off you have to listen to it in 10 languages. This would go on every day for at least 30 minutes. Just goes to show that they can’t be bothered with the passengers comfort, just concerned with getting their job done. The entertainment was okay but nothing to complain about. The dancers and singers performed well and did so with a smile on their faces which was very welcoming after all the other crew. But this was short-lived as the cruise director would keep coming on the stage and give us long lectures which we had no interest in listening to and then go to repeat in his 10 different languages which often lasted much longer than the performances themselves. The reason we selected it this cruise was that it was the only company visiting all the destinations we wanted as per our dates but in retrospect it was a BIG MISTAKE. Money and time wasted. The port visits are inconveniently timed and nothing that any other cruise company can’t offer. When off the ship and in the ports not once did I feel like getting back on the ship. There was nothing inviting or attractive about it and you just have to kill time when onboard because apart from gambling and drinking there isn’t much to do. All in all I would NOT RECOMMEND this cruise line to anyone. Do not waste your hard earned money or your precious time on a worthless cruise Louise Cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
excursions and itinerary excellent, the food is poor, staff is excellent and helpful, Not enough tenders for number of people on the ship during excursions Pool is pathetic, very few lounge chairs Could smell diesel fumes ... Read More
excursions and itinerary excellent, the food is poor, staff is excellent and helpful, Not enough tenders for number of people on the ship during excursions Pool is pathetic, very few lounge chairs Could smell diesel fumes regularly, they were painting part of the boat and fumes were toxic Amenities need a lot of improvement Only 1 dining room open Pre cruise communication was non existent Overall disappointing If only care about ports and not on board experience this boat is worthwhile Suggestions Heated jacuzzi was cold Improve casino. Slot machines only Only have one English tv channel More on board activities Coffee, tea , water should be available 24 hours a day Lucky staff was friendly and helpful... Having breakfast while I write this and inhaling diesel fumes on the back deck Food stations are very limited in times open Expectations were not high, but experience were not close to being met Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband chose this cruise for my 60th birthday treat. We live in Cyprus and had always wanted to visit the Greek islands. Especially Santorini. And thought this would be good way to do it. GOOD POINTS Lovely friendly staff. We ... Read More
My husband chose this cruise for my 60th birthday treat. We live in Cyprus and had always wanted to visit the Greek islands. Especially Santorini. And thought this would be good way to do it. GOOD POINTS Lovely friendly staff. We enjoyed the Buffett dining as the choice was excellent. The islands we visited lived up to our expectations. Especially Santorini. We had 2 excursions included in our package. 1 to Oia in Santorini and an historic visit in Kusadassi. Both were excellent. And the added bonus of a visit to Samos. Beautiful. BAD POINTS The ship needs a complete overhaul. It’s very dated. The pool is a joke. It’s tiny with a sign posted stating no more than 10 people at a time. Which was unbelievable on a ship with 12000 passengers. The pool is totally in the wrong place. There are no loungers on this level. Which means you have to come out of the pool. And either totally dry yourself off or walk up one level in a wet swimsuit to find a lounger. This level is also partially covered by glass. Making it unbearably hot to sit in. There are loads of underused areas on this ship. Many areas with nowhere to sit. And only 1 outdoor bar. Making it a rush every night to get a table. Yet the level directly above this area had no tables or seating. Surely it would’ve made sense to use this area as part of the bar. They could’ve installed furniture that screwed down. Then there was the dining rooms. A total joke. Both dining rooms had exactly the same menu as each other. Why.. That’s why we used the buffet every day. More choice. On the night of my birthday we decided to give one of the dining rooms a try. Wish we hadn’t bothered. There are notices delivered to everyone that smart dress is essential in the dining rooms. That meant no shorts vests or flip flops on men. And smart dresses for women. This was totally ignored. And the staff did nothing about it. The guys at the next table to us were in vests shorts and flip flops. We were sat right next to one of the clearing stations. And the noise plus the sight of leftovers was awful. It felt like a cafeteria. All you could hear was the scraping of plates and clattering of cutlery. And final straw was a waiter asking if he could take our plates, then dumping a tray with other peoples leftovers on our table. And scraping our leftovers onto it. I felt sick. This happened a lot. Even in the buffet restaurant. A fine dining experience it certainly was not. Although our room was nice and roomy (7009), the shower room was tiny. Thank goodness my husband and I are slim. Anyone any heavier would’ve struggled to sit on the loo. And finally. There was the “special evenings” eg the captains cocktail party. We were looking forward to dressing up and having an elegant evening. Another joke. The invitation specifically stated smart dress only. While most people made an effort, some didn’t. And were still allowed entry. To summarise. We won’t ever travel with Celestyal again. It was our first cruise, and has put us off cruising. It felt like a holiday camp on water. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise ship because we had trouble finding much choice is Greek Island cruises departing from Athens. The booking process was difficult as the cruise company did not respond easily to requests and confirmation and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship because we had trouble finding much choice is Greek Island cruises departing from Athens. The booking process was difficult as the cruise company did not respond easily to requests and confirmation and we phoned Greece twice to try to pay for the cruise from Australia. The company certainly seems disorganised in this respect. On arrival at the ship the security staff were overzealous about small knives and scissors, which had cleared customs several times prior to arrival there. The reception staff were rude and abrupt when questioned about why a suitcase was missing when it had been checked onto the ship. While waiting in reception a non-english speaking passenger approached the manager of the reception staff to enquire about something, The manager told this passenger to go away as she couldn't understand the passenger. I found this attitude offensive in the extreme, and when I later enquired about a different cabin as I was not happy with mine, I was told to wait 5 minutes, however after 30 minutes nothing had happened about my request and I was ignored by this reception clerk. it took 2 days for anything to happen regarding my request, then it became damage-control on the part of "reception" and we were finally offered a suitable cabin. The ship is in fairly worn condition in many aspects, the smoke from the exhausts penetrates the ship including restaurants and cabins quite often, and the shower recess in our original cabin was so small the bathroom floor flooded each time you had a shower, and the shower curtain stuck to your back while in the shower. There are very limited TV channels. We found all staff except the reception staff to be very friendly and helpful, the food was mostly very ordinary, the restaurants were slightly better however the cafeteria presented plenty of sad, limp food with virtually no changes to the breakfast menus. if you would like bacon and warm toast for breakfast-forget it. There was an omlet and waffle centre where fresh food was cooked while you waited, this was excellent. The entertainment was also excellent with a very skilled compere and cruise director. The range of drinks was also to our taste, and the wait staff were truly excellent. The excursions to the islands were particularly well organised and the process of leaving and returning to the ship was great, smooth and efficient. Despite the security staff being overzealous at the beginning of the voyage, there was very little checking of what the passengers decided to bring back onto the ship from excursions, this inconsistency is an annoying reflection of ship management. The WIFI offered was very expensive, and the threat of paying SatPhone charges if you made or received calls while well offshore seemed petty and officious. The drinks on board could be on an unlimited basis which I thought was good value, however if you wanted a small bottle of water it is more expensive than at an airport! If you are prepared to put up with surly staff in reception and some petty rules, this can be a reasonably enjoyable cruse. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba. We joined a Road Scholar group that was on the ship. We also wanted to go to more than one port in Cuba and the big ships are only going to one port. There were about 150 people on ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba. We joined a Road Scholar group that was on the ship. We also wanted to go to more than one port in Cuba and the big ships are only going to one port. There were about 150 people on board out of the 1200 that it will hold. Maybe because of this there were very few activities other than the mandatory Cuba lectures and activities. For some of the scheduled activities, no one from the cruise showed up. The casino was small and unexciting. The cabins were small and outdated. We had a junior suite and it was tiny. The toilets didn't work right and it was a joke that everyone shared. Everyone went to the common areas to use the toilets. The same group performed every night. They were quite good but it got really repetitive. The gym was good - it was small but given the number of people on the ship it was fine. All that said, the crew was very friendly and nice. The food was excellent. The cabins were clean. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I was the Group Leader for 18 USA passengers on a People to People tour to Cuba in early January 2017. Most were between 60 and 75 years old. We selected cruising, in part to avoid long, cramped bus rides which would otherwise be needed ... Read More
I was the Group Leader for 18 USA passengers on a People to People tour to Cuba in early January 2017. Most were between 60 and 75 years old. We selected cruising, in part to avoid long, cramped bus rides which would otherwise be needed to see much of Cuba over a week. Celestyal represented we would have stops in Santiago de Cuba, Havana, Punta Frances, and Cienfuegos with their voyage beginning and ending in Montego Bay Jamaica. Once aboard we learned from other passengers (not Celestyal) that Punta Frances had been deleted from the itinerary. Travel there had evidentially been prohibited by the Cuban government months earlier but no advance notice was given to me or members of my group. The company still falsely represents on their website that it is included as part of the trip. Then, the evening we sailed from Montego Bay to Santiago de Cuba, a crew member advised one of my group that it was unlikely we would go to Havana. it was, however, only after departing from Santiago that the ship advised that "technical reasons" linked to bad weather on the north coast of Cuba would preclude our ability to dock in Havana. We were advised that instead we would spend the balance of our trip at the port of Cienfuegos. So much for cruising! The solution Celestyal felt appropriate was to arrange 2 days of bus trips from Cienfuegos to Havana (8 hours of round trip travel time each day) in a bus without a working toilet. They also arranged a bus trip (3 hours round trip and again no working toilet) to the colonial city of Trinidad. The excursion included a welcome drink, a lunch, and a visit to one museum. No offer was made to compensate passengers for the meager, physically challenging, and educationally devoid substitute itineraries offered to replace the cruise we signed up and paid for. All of this said, the ship itself was clean and comfortable, the food was acceptable, and most of the crew did their best to make the best of a bad situation. I attribute the universal belief of my group (and almost certainly the balance of passangers) that they were grossly shortchanged by Celestyal to poor decision-making by company's senior decision-makers and owners. Passengers never did receive a complete and plausible explanation of w docking in Havana (the reason most had come on the voyage to begin with) was not possible. The alternative arrangements offered were worthless. And continuing to advertise an itinerary that includes Punta Frances ought to be illegal if there is no possibility of stopping there. he senior management of Celestyal was tested and found to be lacking. Future visitors to Cuba...forewarned is forearmed. A fish begins to stink at the head and 18 of us just spent a week holding our noses. Read Less
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates N/A N/A

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